‘Ice Cream Boat’ sunk by heavy currents at South Side Marina
Heavy currents sank and smashed a houseboat converted into a floating ice-cream shop this weekend, days before its owners anticipated a busy weekend at the Three Rivers Regatta.
The Sugar and Spice Ice Cream boat, an offshoot of the long-tenured Baldwin Borough ice cream shop owned by other members of the same family, was docked at the South Side Marina on Saturday when fast currents dragged one side of the boat down and quickly sank it, said Kevin Heenan, who co-owned the boat and an ice-cream truck with his wife, Lori.
“We were there getting prepped for the Regatta,” Heenan said. “You could see it start to take on water and you just realized, you need to walk away now. Within not even a minute, (the current) just took it down.”
Heenan said his boat was among several that sank at the South Side Marina over the weekend. Representatives of Fox Chapel Marine Sales and Service, which operates the Marina, could not say how much damage was done to the docks or the boats.
As the boat sank, the current battered it against the docks, smashing the cabin with its freezers, coolers and dipping cabinets, Heenan said. The remains of the boat washed downstream and lodged against another part of the marina.
Heenan said the boat hadn’t even had a full season on the water, having struggled last summer to clear regulatory hurdles with the city and operating for only about a month. He managed to secure a berth along the North Shore during last year’s Regatta and was set to do it again this weekend. He had planned to cater a private event Friday afternoon.
“I guess they won’t have ice cream, or I’ll have to bring in the truck,” Heenan said. His insurer, he said, would reimburse him for some of the loss, but estimates of the boat’s worth were based on its unconverted state.
For now, he and his wife plan to focus on the land-based side of the business, which purchases ice cream and shares a name with his brother’s shop on Route 51 but is operated as a separate company.
Weekend rainstorms raised river levels and caused flooding throughout the region. The riverwalks at Point State Park were closed Sunday, and post-flood cleanup closed the Mon Wharf parking lots Downtown and Sandcastle Water Park in West Homestead on Monday.
Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, [email protected] or via Twitter @msantoni.